Pokémon Gold/Silver - Review

Pokémon Returns with its Finest Yet...

By: Matt B.

Review Breakdown
Battle System 7
Interface 7
Music/Sound 7
Originality 6
Plot 4
Localization 9
Replay Value 8
Visuals 8
Difficulty Easy-Moderate
Time to Complete

40-120 hours


Pokémon G/S

Pokémon is back, and even though the trend seems to be dying, it's here to stay. With the many new features and additions being added into the game, there were high expectations to be met. With an extra one hundred new monsters to capture and train, it's become possibly one of if not the largest gaming experience around for the Gameboy. While the same basic, linear idea of Pokémon is here, you are now in a new league with more challenges and more sidequests. If anybody has had a hard time with the previous versions of Pokémon due to the game's flow, the Gold and Silver versions are less sadistic, as the pace of the game moves much faster than previous versions.

The battle system is quite simple. Pokémon has a rather unique turn-based system which allows the player, a Pokémon trainer, to select a Pokémon to fight an opponent. As long as there are Pokémon are healthy, and battle ready, a trainer may switch between Pokémon for either a better chance of capturing a wild Pokémon, or knocking out an opponent's Pokémon. Each Pokémon have different skills and abilities due to their types, and really, some battles require a lot of strategy. Type advantages are really a thing to consider when playing Pokémon. For example, if an opposing trainer sent out a fire Pokémon, your best chances of beating it would be to use a Pokémon with attacks that will work very effectively. Since this is a fire type, the trainer should choose a Pokémon of either water, or rock type, and should try to avoid using something like a grass type, which can place the trainer at a big disadvantage.

Even though the battles and controls are easy to figure out, it won't be long until the player becomes tired of fighting one long battle after another. Since there are many trainers out there who will challenge the player, and the vast amount of wild Pokémon you encounter, battles could take a long time, and become quite sickening. However, there is an option to turn off the battle animations, which can make the game move at a quicker pace...

As mentioned before, the game moves at a much faster pace than the previous versions, allowing more to be completed with Pokémon not needed to be at very high levels. The menus are quite easy to figure out, from sorting your Pokémon, looking at your gear, to changing the border around the text windows. The organization of the items in your backpack are also quite well done, which have certain items in certain spots, instead of cramming them into one big screen like some RPGs tend to do.

Night Exploring
New Day/Night Feature

The music in the game is rather well composed, including some remixes from the previous versions of the game. However, some of the music can get repetitive after exiting from the battle, before it's not too long where the player into another one, and then the music restarts itself instead of moving on from where it last left off after the battle finishes. As nice as the music sounds, the repetitiveness is enough to drive the player insane. The sound effects themselves aren't the greatest things to hear, however, since it is on a Gameboy, they're not too bad.

Since the basic idea is exactly the same as previous versions of Pokémon, the originality won't score very high points here. It's all the same, run out into the wild, capture Pokémon, raise Pokémon, recover fainted/tired Pokémon, encounter the rival, get insulted, kick his butt, the trend continues. However, there are some nice additions to the game. Now, there are some trainers who you can give your phone number to, and they can call the player up on pointless updates on how their progress on training goes, or if they're interested in a rematch from an earlier battle. Also, ths game has a unique real-time day-night feature. So whatever time the player has is the exact same time that occurs in the game. You can even go to your mother to switch to Standard or Daylight Savings time.

The player can even collect certain types of fruit called "apricorns" which can be created into different types of Pokéballs. They grow on many trees at different times of the day, and after a while (about a few days real-time), the player can go back and pick the same berries. After getting them created into Pokéballs that can't be purchased in stores, they allow the player to have a greater chance at capturing Pokémon that could be difficult to capture with the Pokéballs that can be purchased.

Even with all of the capturing and training, it's too bad that the player is not sent on a mini-quest to go capture the wild "plot". There really is not much plot to Pokémon, the basic idea of the game is explained at the very beginning, and really, that's about it. You, the player, are a new Pokémon trainer going out to be the best. Since the main character is the silent protagonist, there isn't really much character development at all, except for perhaps the rival, who has an interesting twist to him. Instead of being a cocky, spoiled brat, this rival tends to be out simply to cause mayhem, and really, the most exciting parts of the game are confronting your rival, since he has new, witty remarks with every encounter.

The dialogue in the game can be at times a bit disturbing, since there are times when there is a lot of dialogue. But really, the game's translation is rather top notch, and not once had there been anything that seemed odd when translated. No typos or grammar errors have been found, and this is the kind of thing that Nintendo is good at.

Subway of Destiny
Funkier ways to travel

Even after all the hard battling, training, and capturing has been well over and done with, one could always be eager to want to start another game. Even after the game has technically been beaten, there is still a new sidequest to complete afterwards. And with the many different Pokémon line-up combinations that can be done, the player will always want to start a new game, just to see how a different setup of Pokémon will do in the next play-through.

For a Gameboy game, Pokémon ceases to please. The map designs, the character designs, even all the new monster designs look very good. The battle animations add a neat effect, which comes in handy everytime the player uses their favourite attacks. The proper use of colours, and all of the different items you collect really make this game look very clean and neat. The transitions from day to night also work out well, since the screen is still easy to see even during nighttime. Although, it could look a little strange if the player is playing at 4AM and be surprised to see that it is bright and sunny in the game.

Pokémon is not a very hard game at all. While there are some really tough battles (just like in every good RPG ~_^), the game itself is not very hard. It starts off rather easy at first, but picks up, and tends to get rather difficult in the end, but still not very hard. It doesn't seem that many gamers will have problems with the difficulty of this game.

Hot, hot battle.
This hot, hot battle action ain't gettin' any hotter...

Pokémon's completion varies extremely . It all depends on the intense Pokémon trainer that the player becomes. If the player is determined to capture every single Pokémon in the game possible, the game could take about 120 hours, and possibly even more. If the player just picks up, captures what they need, train hard, zip through the game, it will be done in about 40 hours.

On a final note, Pokémon versions Gold and Silver are very good collections to have. Even though they still have the exact same idea as previous versions, there's a whole new world to explore, many new items to collect and create, and of course, new Pokémon to capture and train. This is Pokémon at its best, and quite frankly, it ain't gettin' any better.

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